Tuesday, March 10, 2009

EDAR: $500

OK, weird title, right?  I'll share a link to the article in a moment (obviously you can skip ahead if you want), but here's the idea: portable (on wheels) base, mattress, and sleeping bag, and covered with zipping canvas (sort of like a mobile tent).  Light, flame retardent, and rain-proof.  Costs about $500 to make.  EDAR: "Everyone Deserves A Roof."  They're being distributed to LA's homeless population.

What a great idea, right?  Some great Christian humanitarian must've spent a lot of time and effort to come up with this scheme, right?  Well, surprise, it came from the mind of the producer of "Revenge of the Nerds" - not exactly what you'd expect as the source.  PLEASE NOTE: I don't mean to demean the guy, Peter Samuelson; bear with me while I get to my point.  The point: what have I done to help the homeless?  What have you done?  A good word?  A prayer?  Here's the article, go read that now, but then come back here.

My friend Dean has, I think, started to get this.  If you spend some time reading his Blog, you'll see what I mean.  He has started actually doing for the less fortunate.  He's started living the type of faith that James promotes.  Scratch that - the kind of faith that GOD promotes, through the writing of His servant James.  (Yes, I know that link goes to James 2, and it's the end of chapter 1 where it talks about "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God"... but it's chapter 2 where it really gets into the meat of works going hand-in-hand with faith - it's not the works that saves you, but it's the works that may - ultimately - help to save someone else by turning a hardened heart towards the love of God outstretched through your generous, willing, servant hands, and they (the works) are the demonstration of the faith that has saved you.)

Anyway, back to the homeless thing... for example, one guy in the article has been homeless off and on since 1979; and he's a computer repair guy!  (Wait, I'm in the computer industry...) Another lady said (of the EDAR):
It's a step up to you. It's like you're making progress.  Now, I have me a little place to stay. I'm moving up.
And we complain when our dinner's served a little slow at Logan's Roadhouse (as the guy in the next booth was doing to the waiter who was on his first day at the job).  We complain when the over-the-air high-def signal skips a second or two of our favorite TV show that we're watching our 50" plasma TV (it was a gift!) while sitting on our comfortable recliner in our 4-bedroom, 2-bath, air-conditioned and heated house.  We complain about the cost of fuel and 10% tax on our Burger King lunch.  Shame on me.  Wait, I mean, shame on us.

Said Peter Samuelson, who started thinking about this while riding his bike through LA and, seeing the homeless, started taking the time to stop and talk with them instead of riding on by and thinking bad about them:
People talk about the homeless as if it's some homogeneous group of drunken, unemployed, too-lazy-to-get-a-job men. They're totally wrong. They need to come meet people.  What's the point in having a society if it's devoid of helping people less fortunate?
I don't know if he's Christian... but those of us who are (claiming to be) followers of Christ, where's our participation?  Why didn't we do this long ago?  Or perhaps bring them (the homeless) into our homes or church fellowships or ... wait, have I gone to far now?  (And, I realize, some do these things - and I applaud you!)

So I was talking about this with the family at dinner at Logan's Roadhouse tonight, and my daughter asked, "So what are you going to do about it, dad?"  (Ouch.)   "Well," I replied, "I'm going to blog about it.  Words are my weapons!"  I was jesting... somewhat (I am blogging about it, aren't I?  But, yes, I'd planned to do this already).  But what am I going to do about it?  The choir is going this weekend to sing at the Waterfront Rescue Mission (I'm taking my guitar and sax along, too), but clearly that's not sufficient.  I did offer a guy a ride from Daphne to Pensacola a few weeks back (he was on his way to Dothan), and we gave him some of the drinks and snacks we had in the van with us when we let him out, and prayed for him.  But, clearly, that's not enough.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:27)
Is this going to change my life?  Why hasn't it already... the love of the Lord, why haven't I allowed it to take me completely, even to walk barefoot 'n' naked for three if that's what it takes? God doesn't want us to be uncomfortable (I do not believe that He does); He wants us to be obedient and dependent on Him.  And He wants us to try to gather everyone to Him, to be His witnesses.  What would you be willing to do if God asked?  And are you listening to find out what He might ask you to do?  It's easy (debatable, I know) to die for Christ, not always so easy to live for Him.  But why is that?  What is it about us that keeps putting us first?  Pride, that's what. And pride, of course, equates to idolatry, since it's putting ourselves before God.  Ever heard that saying, "Let go and let God"?  Time to do that... time to let go of ourselves and let God direct our steps.

Go read Dean's blog now... it's much better than mine.  And then go do whatever it is that God's been asking you to do and you've been rationalizing away.  It's not going to kill you, and even if it does, you'll be better off anyway, eh?


Laudio said...

I love the new layout! I've been reading your posts via e-mail on my hand-held, and the fancy-schmancy background hasn't been coming through. This is great! How long has it been like this?

Thank you for all the references to my blog, and of course, I totally, totally agree with everything you've said here. I don't think I should be put on a pedestal at all, and I hope no one takes it that way. There have been so many people who've "gotten" this throughout the ages that I feel like a baby who's just toddling and severely late to the party. You have license to mention the bad stuff about me, too. (But that would take up more space than Blogger allows, I think.)

I'm interested in watching how this shapes up for you down there! Don't let anything stop you. Definitely don't let the rationalizations of others (for not doing it) slow you down!

Christy said...

Well, it's awfully cool to see how God is working in your life similarly to mine and the others of us still up here. Even though we're miles apart now (sniff, sniff) our God isn't limited by that, and He seems to be keeping us on a relatively similar path. Give your family my love. We truly, really, actually, honestly do miss you all very much. Oh, I forgot genuinely. ;0)

Tony M said...

Thanks for the kudos on the new layout. I'm not totally sold on it yet, so it could change again in the not-so-distant future. Then again my original was left unfinished for what, a year and a half? Oh, and it's only been like this for a few days.